We had to get to it sooner or later. In order to eat, something must die.
Learning to Kill
We are very grateful to Connie VanDyke of Tabor Tilth for teaching us her method of killing and processing rabbits. We had read and watched everything we could find about butchering, but nothing compares to real life experience. If you decide to keep rabbits for food and have never butchered before, please try to find someone in your area who can teach you! You are welcome to visit our farm on slaughtering day, and we will teach you how we do it.
There are several methods for butchering rabbits. We make the process as painless and humane as possible. The main idea is to stun the rabbit before bleeding it out. You want the rabbit to bleed as quickly and completely possible.
Breaking the Neck
We know of three methods for breaking the rabbit’s neck. We use the broomstick method.
- Chinning: Hold the rabbit upside down by the back legs. Quickly snap the head down and back to break the neck.
- Use the Rabbit Wringer
- Broomsticking: Have one person bring the bunny to you. Set it on the floor and put a piece of rebar or strong broomstick just behind the neck. Step down on the rebar (one person’s foot on each side) while you pull up hard on both back feet at once.
Once the neck is broken, lift the rabbit and slit its throat over a bucket to bleed it.
We tried this method but found our aim wasn’t as sure as we’d like it to be. Place the rabbit in a box small enough so it can’t move, or set it on the table and hold it. Using something heavy like a pipe, stone, or heavy wood hammer, give the rabbit a sharp blow between the ears. The rabbit will be stunned and fall over. Immediately chop off its head with a heavy butcher knife and hang the rabbit upside down. (Or you can hang upside down and slit throat to bleed it.)
Place the rabbit in a box small enough so it can’t move. Shoot the rabbit between the ears. Immediately hang the rabbit upside down and slit the throat to bleed it, or cut off the head as above.
The best video we have found that follows our methods almost (almost) exactly.
Domestic rabbit meat is different than game rabbit. It is all white meat. The legs have the best, most versatile meat. The meat of the back has a longer grain. Rabbits are delicious roasted whole, or cooked any way you’d cook chicken. I like to deep fry the legs and stew the back in the crock pot. Rabbit is very lean, so some fat may need to be added when cooking, depending on what you’re doing. Rabbit’s internal temp should be 160 degrees when done – don’t overcook it or it’ll get tough. It’s also high protein. From one rabbit, three of us get our fill the first night then hit the leftovers for a couple days.
Here are a few recipes. Search the internet for more, or use rabbit wherever you would use white meat chicken.